An Interview with Dirty Hit’s Newest Member: Beabadoobee
by Erin Christie
In April of last year, Bea Kristi, professional known as Bea (or beabadoobee), signed with independent UK label, Dirty Hit. The eighteen-year-old, now sharing the stage with amazing acts such as (my personal favorite band) Wolf Alice, The 1975, The Japanese House, and more, understandably has a lot of pressure placed on her shoulders. Despite this, she’s handling it beautifully and taking massive strides toward stardom with each strum of her guitar.
Before the release of her first EP, Patched Up, on December 7th, I was able to chat with Bea via e-mail concerning her qualms with stardom and where she sees herself in the future.
In late 2017, Bea released her first original song, “Coffee,” and soon after— to her surprise—it started to gain traction, in large part due to social media and music sharing platforms. Spotify curates “Discover Weekly” playlists for listeners based on artists and songs that they have shown interest in. In my case, Spotify was a key component in my introduction to Bea’s music. “Coffee” was included in one of my weekly playlists sometime last year, in the midst of her debut onto the scene.
“The hype towards coffee felt weird,” Bea explained. “I didn’t even know people actually listened to the song till someone commented on one of my Instagram posts, ‘hey! Ur that coffee girl’ and I was like huh and I checked coffee streams and I was like when tf did that happen.”
From an outside perspective, it’s easy to see why “Coffee” gained instant traction. Bea’s vocal style is very timid and soft, yet indescribably beautiful and powerful at the same time. “I’ll make a cup of coffee with the right amount of sugar, how you like it,” Bea croons in the chorus.
In an interview with the Global Inquirer, Bea mentioned that “Coffee” was the first song that she ever wrote via guitar after teaching herself to play. The song was inspired by her relationship with her boyfriend, Soren Harrison, who has created the artwork that has graced the covers of her singles and most recent EP. For Patched Up, he and a friend, Amir, spent upwards of twelve hours editing and constructing the cover, a mesh of photo and art.
Before pursuing music, Bea had different aspirations in mind: “I wanted to be a nursery teacher actually, read some stories to the kids, sing them some tunes, write lil plays for them I thought that would be cool and then this whole music thing happened and I was like woop this is cool too.”
Her rise to stardom has parallels with other “bedroom pop” artists such as Clairo and Cuco, who began gaining relative status via social media. On Instagram, Bea’s following is at roughly 115k. As the buzz escalates, it’s almost as if everything enters hyperdrive at the push of a button.
What makes Bea so appealing apart from her peers, though, is her relatability and warm nature. As evident through her typing style alone, Bea is a seemingly regular eighteen-year-old, juggling school and the throes of adolescence whilst also being a “public figure” to some degree.
“Juggling school and music is suPER HARD WOW,” she wrote. “Like sitting in a classroom with information going through one ear to another whilst constantly thinking about a new song I wrote sucks ass.”
Much of her short, but already well-regarded, discography is composed of soft, ambient tracks that, as she says, “would probably make you cry or make you really happy, too.” An older track, “Home Alone,” has the ability to make butterflies flit around your stomach, earnestly detailing her desire to have someone keep her company.
As she explains, her lyrics are often drawn from her own experiences: “[My lyrics come from] pretty much embracing feelings that can be intimidating sometimes. And that its always gonna be okay at the end. I guess song writing helps me reassure myself a bit, helps me get stuff off my chest too.” Aside from her singles, her 2018 short album, Patched Up, offers listeners an opportunity to view Bea’s lyrical prowess and musical expertise in greater depth.
Bea cites artists such as Kimya Dawson, Elliot Smith, Karen O, Mazzy Star, Simon & Garfunkel, and Daniel Johnston as having a “collective contribution” to her musical path. This much is certainly evident in her past releases, including Patched Up.
When describing her music, it’s difficult to refrain from using the descriptor “sweet” too much. Tracks such as “Art Class,” for example, combine a more fast-paced, acoustic melody with themes of blossoming love and insecurity about expressing one’s feelings for another. “If you don’t take my hand already, I’m afraid I’ll start a riot,” she argues.
My personal favorite of the album, “If You Want To,” seems as though it would be amazingly fun live, warranting one to sway back and forth along with the carefree, upbeat melody.
Another track, “Eighteen,” is autobiographical in nature, reminiscent of Sufjan Steven’s oftentimes melancholy attitude. The song details Bea’s personal woes about becoming an adult. “Sometimes I get scared and throw it all up,” she admits. At the end of the day, she’s still eighteen, despite how quickly her career is launching, and that can be intimidating.
When I had the chance to talk to Bea, it was just before the release of her debut EP, Patched Up, and on the cusp of her first-ever headlining gig at St Pancras Old Church in London. Despite her initial nerves (and the sore throat that she felt coming on), having been armed with tons of rehearsal time and prep, she managed to take the stage with grace that night. In May, she will be playing Live at Leeds, a festival for up and coming talent, alongside Sundara Karma, Swim Deep, Goat Girl, and Dream Wife (among others).
With the future in mind, Bea is hopeful: “I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future with music…well hopefully people like this ep I guess…and I keep writing songs so I guess there [are] more ep’s and albums to come :).” Regardless as to what this coming year has in store for Bea, as young as she is, the future seems bright.